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One of my absolute favorite family vacation spots is Kauai. It takes some extra time and effort to get there over some other beaches and islands for most of us, but for our family it is worth every ounce of that effort once we arrive. I fell in love with the North Shore of Kauai on our most recent trip, but the South Shore we had visited previously is still phenomenal thanks to beautiful weather, family friendly beaches, and of course points-friendly hotels.
I have had a fantastic stay at the Grand Hyatt Kauai before, so I didn’t hesitate to book a return summer trip with my family. The biggest difference between planning my trips in 2013 and 2014 was the introduction of a Hyatt Gold Passport cash + points award chart that made it possible to secure a room on cash + points and then apply a Diamond Confirmed Suite upgrade to land ourselves a nice big suite. Pro Tip: Have flexible dates and book as far in advance as possible!
In the summer, suites at the Grand Hyatt Kauai can easily sell for $1,000 per night, with ocean view suites often going for more than that. We would never dream of spending that much per night for a hotel room (you can rent a whole big house in Kauai for less than that), but when there is an accessible way at a nice resort to get some space to spread out as a family, we are absolutely interested. We spent a Diamond Confirmed Upgrade certificate plus 12,500 Hyatt Gold Passport points and $150 per night for our ocean view suite. That isn’t free, but it is a heck of a deal for a great room in a great location during the peak summer season.
If you are newer to Hyatt but interested in Diamond status and the confirmed suite upgrades, check out the Hyatt Diamond Trial.
To prevent repeating as much information as possible, here are the first three posts in the Kauai series from this year, as well as the posts specifically on the Grand Hyatt Kauai from last year. For the Grand Hyatt Kauai I will focus primarily on the things that we experienced differently this year, including getting to stay in the Ocean View Suite!
2013 Grand Hyatt Kauai Reviews:
2014 Kauai Trip Reviews:
Grand Hyatt Kauai Check-In and Diamond Amenity Selection:
Since we were coming from another hotel on Kauai, we timed our arrival at the Grand Hyatt Kauai to coincide with the official check-in time to prevent the delay in getting to the room that we experienced in 2013 when our flight arrived earlier in the day. When we arrived around 4PM there was no line in the large and airy check-in area, and we were thrilled to hear that our room was indeed ready!
The check-in process was pretty straight forward, but there was one issue that became more important later on while selecting our Diamond Amenity. Normally for the Hyatt Diamond amenity we choose the 1,000 point bonus, especially at properties that have a club where we can easily get drinks or snacks. However, the Grand Hyatt Kauai offers a very family friendly amenity of a poolside or lagoon front cabana for the day. We used this last year and were eager to make use of it again this year.
The language clearly says you get a complimentary poolside or lagoon front cabana, but the reality is it is $50 off a cabana rental, and the cheapest poolside cabana is $70. Last year that was not the case, so this seems like the benefit has changed on the back-end, but the paperwork you are shown at check-in has not been updated. I think $50 off a cabana rental would still be a good amenity, but it is annoying to be told one thing at check-in and then be told of the benefit downgrade later on when you actually reserve the cabana at the pool.
The only cabana that is actually still “free” as a part of the amenity is the lounger built for two with a hooded top by the cabana that normally rents for $50 per day. That cabana will not hold a family, so we ultimately paid the $20 extra required for the poolside cabana. I recommend they update the paperwork at check-in to match current policies as I heard several families confused when they went to book their cabanas.
At check-in we were given leis and necklaces, so if that is part of your Hawaiian “must do list” don’t feel like you need to buy those items at the airport. You will get them if you stay at this hotel.
After completing our check-in, we were shown to our room by a bellman who pushed all of our luggage on a cart. This was very helpful as the distance from the lobby to our suite is substantial since this property is ginourmous. It was probably close to 2/3 of a mile….seriously. More on that in a later post, but bring your walking shoes!
Ocean View Suite:
Our suite was located on the same side of the hotel as the Grand Club, which was handy for grabbing snacks and breakfast, though the trade-off is that is the opposite side of the resort from the pools. There is no way to be close to both the club and the pools, so again, bring your walking shoes.
Some suite upgrades out there in the “hotel world” aren’t probably what you picture in your mind when you think of the word “suite”. However, this one is. We were already in one of our favorite destinations, so walking into over 1,000 square feet of our own literally almost took our breath away. We would have room to breathe and take it all in while in Poipu.
The to the suite entrance has wooden floors, and this was handy for storing floats, sandy shoes, and other things that wouldn’t do well on carpet. Once you turn the corner to the living room you see the dining table for four, the TV, and the couch.
The furniture is beautiful, and looks like real living room furniture instead of “hotel furniture”. The couch is not a pull-out, though I don’t think kids would have any problem sleeping on the comfy couch. You could also request a roll-away bed, if needed.
The living area also has a large TV and a connecting door if you needed to add another bedroom to the suite. Off of the living area is a small balcony (which we mostly used to dry wet bathing suits) and a view out to the water.
The space in the living area of the suite was so appreciated by our family, but the suite obviously didn’t stop there. The bedroom area closed off with doors from the living area if desired and had a four post king bed.
There was a flat screen TV mounted on the wall that you could view from the bed, but be careful as I hit my head on the TV multiple times when putting clothes in the dresser below the TV! I’m a slow learner….
The bedroom was easily darkened thanks to the doors between the bedroom and living room, as well as the curtains in the living room. This is a big deal in Hawaii thanks to having to adjust to the different time zones and the very real need for afternoon naps for the young kiddo. The bed was very comfortable, and the closets had lights that turned on when you opened the doors.
The suite has one bathroom, but it is a big pretty one!
The bathroom has a jetted tub, separate shower, double vanity, tv mounted in a way that you could see it from the tub, and a room for the heated Toto toilet. Which is of course totally unnecessary, and yet totally awesome.
The towels in the suite were fluffy and soft and were always very well stocked by housekeeping. In fact, housekeeping deserves a special mention here as they did an amazing job making our room look great while we were out each day, and they always left us with ample water. For what it’s worth, we did leave tips for housekeeping, so I don’t know if that helped or not, but they really were awesome here.
Also worth mentioning are the mini fridge and microwave that you have at your disposal for snacks and drinks with no mini bar items getting in the way.
We ate all but one breakfast in the lounge since it was no extra charge with our Diamond status, but there was one morning we ordered room service since I needed to work and the kiddo was sleeping in. This was when I really appreciated having a table to eat at instead of potentially making a crummy mess in another part of the suite.
The smaller room we had at the Grand Hyatt Kauai last year was very nice. The ocean view suite we had this year was obviously even better! We could have used 25,000 points per night for a standard room and saved some out-of-pocket cash costs, but for us I think it was a much better value to spend 12,500 points + $150 USD and a Diamond suite upgrade to have much more room to spread out, which was so awesome when nap times came around each day for our worn out four year old!
Even without the suite upgrade, the cash + points prices for Category 6 Hyatts are pretty good, as you are effectively buying 1/2 of your point back at a rate of 1.2 cents each. The one downside to this is that you will have to pay the $30 resort fee and taxes if you are on a cash + points stay when you don’t on a pure points reservation. Also worth noting this hotel does have a complimentary self parking option, or if you use valet it is $15 per day.
While this specific post is about the suite, the hotel itself is a family paradise with countless pools, a water slide, places to run around and play, daily kid-focused activities and programs, a kid’s club, and more. It might almost be too great as outlined here.
Seriously though, I think the Grand Hyatt Kauai is a phenomenal resort destination for families no matter what room type you stay in, but I would recommend using points or cash and points during peak season since even base rooms in the summer approach $500 per night. You can use your two free nights from the Hyatt Visa, Hyatt Gold Passport points, or transfer in Chase Ultimate Reward points 1:1 from cards like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card.
I have no doubt we will have a third trip to the Grand Hyatt Kauai at some point in the future. Coming up next in this series is some info on the activities and restaurants at the Grand Hyatt Kauai!
If you have stayed at the Grand Hyatt Kauai, please share your experiences!
Editorial Note: The opinions expressed here are mine and not provided, reviewed, by any bank, card issuer, or other company unless otherwise stated.